Faithlife Sermons

God's Prescription for Anxiety

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Introduction

We live in a society of stressed out, depressed, anxiety riddled people! Illustration: Q. What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches? A nervous wreck.   
Unfortunately, anxiety is no laughing matter. Although we would like to make light of our fears they are nothing to joke about...They manifest as a result of a lack of trust in Christ and ultimately, in one way or another, they destroy some part or the whole of our life.
Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all others thoughts are drained.  -- Arthur Somers Roche.
Consider the following: Suicide has surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of injury death for Americans.
Fully one-third of the nation’s employees suffer chronic debilitating stress, and more than half of all “millennials” (18 to 33 year olds) experience a level of stress that keeps them awake at night, including large numbers diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder.
Shocking new research from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that one in five of all high-school-aged children in the United States has been diagnosed with ADHD, and likewise a large new study of New York City residents shows, sadly, that one in five preteens – children aged six to 12 – have been medically diagnosed with either ADHD, anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder;Incredibly, 11 percent of all Americans aged 12 and older are currently taking SSRI antidepressants
Women are especially prone to depression, with a stunning 23 percent of all American women in their 40s and 50s – almost one in four – now taking antidepressants, according to a major study by the CDC
Throw in the 28 percent of American adults with a drinking problem, (that’s more than 60 million), plus the 22 million using illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants, and pretty soon a picture emerges of a nation of drug-takers, with hundreds of millions dependent on one toxic substance or another – legal or illegal – to “help” them deal with the stresses and problems of life.
Why Millenials are stressed: 76 percent were stressed out about work;73 percent fretted over money;59 percent obsessed over relationships’56 percent were faced with intense family responsibilities;55 percent were freaked out over the current state of the economy.
But all of these statistics, some of which are several years old…is Pre-Corona. Every concern has been amplified. New ones have been added. We are a nation cowering in fear of what we know, think we know and don’t know.
And the fears have distracted us. It has changed us. Is America still home of the brave? Some would argue such a thought nothing more than a bygone platitude or prideful boast of our nation’s past. From the looks of things it is hard to argue otherwise.
But what about the church? We are supposed to be different than the world. We are not supposed to be brave as a simple product of our place of birth or national pride. Our bravery and courage are meant to come from something deeper, more permanent and real. We are meant to have courage as a product of our relationship with Christ!
Jesus makes it clear in our passage today that His church is the true home of the brave…that in Him we can truly be anxious for nothing.

Where Anxiety Comes From

Anxiety is sin. It is to allow the natural concerns of life to control your mind, emotions and actions. Ultimately it is a lack of trust in God’s love and ability to provide for our life.
An average person's anxiety is focused on : 40% -- things that will never happen...30% -- things about the past that can't be changed...12% -- things about criticism by others, mostly untrue...10% -- about health, which gets worse with stress...8% -- about real problems that will be faced
If these statistics are true…and they are certainly close to the mark…92% of what constitutes worry is never something we actually face! And God never intends that we live life this way!
The phrase here translated “be not anxious” — could also be translated, “Don’t go to pieces” or don’t be distracted.”Jesus does not want us to be distracted from really living.
It is very difficult to let go of everything and give the whole of our life to God and depend fully upon Him...but that is exactly what we are called to do as followers of Christ. J
What are we going to eat? What will we wear? Where will I get the basic necessities of life? These were the concerns of folks in Jesus’ day…and in every day before or since. We are always concerned about where we are going to find the things we need. The question is really a simple one…Who or What is going to be our source for life?
Most of us know we are going to eat tomorrow and where we are going to live. But we still grow anxious about paying the bills…and hasn’t the current crisis weakened our assurances that we or the government can provide for such? Some folks are genuinely and rightfully shook up…they realize their livelihood can be taken away by government edict. That a virus or other crisis can totally change their world. Folks aren’t as self-assured as they once were..
And no one wants to die an untimely death do they? We are all concerned about the quality of our life…that our needs be provided for…but…we are also concerned about the quantity as well aren’t we? We want to live a long, fruitful and happy life. Ultimately our concern is for how this is going to happen...Jesus says, “Who can add one moment to his or her life by worrying?”
Whether the needs of this life or the next all of us are going to decide who or what will be our source for life and life eternal. If it will be Christ we can potentially live without the anxiety so many suffer from…but it we choose to make self, government or others our source anxiety will consume us.
Anxiety happens when someone is attempting to control their circumstances and realizes their efforts to do so are futile…and sooner or later any source for life outside of Christ will be shown futile.
The result is concern which arises when you realize self or others isn’t strong enough to get the job done.

God’s Has a Prescription For Worry

When we go to the doctor it is because we have a concern about our health. We have, up to that moment, done our best to deal with the concern ourselves. We might have taken a Tylenol for pain, an aspirin for fever, chicken soup, 7-Up…cough syrup…there are a myriad of home remedies. But at some point we reach the end of self…the end of what we can do. The concern about our health reaches a place where we realize we need something or someone beyond self. And we make an appointment to see a doctor.
The doctor does an exam of our situation. He or she determines what it is that is wrong with us. And after reaching a conclusion for how to help us the doctor writes a prescription for some medication that will remedy our cold, allergies or hurt.
Unfortunately there are some folks who wait too long to go to a doctor. They refuse to reach out to anyone or anything beyond self. It may be fear, distrust or pride…but something keeps them from walking into the office of a doctor and receiving the help they need. These folks often end up in serious trouble or worse…dead.
Many folks do the same thing with the concerns of life. They live in the realm of the self-life. They depend upon themselves, the government or others to provide for the concerns and cares of this life. But eventually these imperfect sources for life prove to be a disappointment.
You cannot find life…materially or spiritually…outside of Christ. Even when you believe you are taking care of the physical the reality is this…the capacity to provide comes from the hand of God…whether you recognize and acknowledge it or not.
Isn’t this what the Corona has taught us? We thought we were the strongest, riches, most powerful country in the world. We thought we could provide for our every material need in the midst of the greatest economy that ever existed on earth…but in a matter of weeks God has shown us He is in control and we are dependent upon a power outside of our own.
We never provide for our needs…materially or spiritually…on our own. All of us, whether we acknowledge it or not are dependent upon a power not our own.
Only those who do acknowledge and rest in the power outside of self for their needs will ever be free of the anxiety a misguided view of self and self-dependency provide.
God doesn’t want us to live this way. He doesn’t want us to live life fearful, anxious and burdened with the weight of responsibility which comes with self sufficiency.
We were never meant to provide everything we would need for life...not here and not in eternity. We were meant to be completely dependent upon God for life and salvation...God has a prescription…the question is simple…will we go to the Doctor and take His prescription?

The Prescription (Conclusions)

If your faith is in yourself...your bank account...your government...your good fortune or anything other than Christ...you are ripe for an anxiety attack. The anxiety is going to come and it is just a matter of when.
Seek…the Kingdom of God — “the imperative “seek” (ζητείτε, zēteite) calls for a persistent wholehearted devotion to the realization of God’s reign in one’s life.”
Wholeheartedly — “Marked by complete earnest commitment : free from all reserve or hesitation.”
First — Mark with highest priority
Without reserve or hesitation, persistently make the realization of God’s reign in your life of highest priority.
And God’s promise when we do so is that HE will be our source for everything.
If we are to be free of anxiety…free from being controlled by the things which concern us…we must recognize God’s control over our life and circumstance.
Seek…first…The Kingdom…of God.
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